Each year, MDU Resources honors employees who make outstanding contributions to our family of companies and the communities we serve.

Five employees have been recognized with the 2023 Einstein Award, which recognizes exceptional process improvement ideas that contribute in a measurable way to the bottom line.


Everus Construction Group recognizes Confer

Mike Confer, a foreman with Capital Electric Line Builders, is the recipient of the Einstein Award from Everus Construction Group. Confer fabricated and constructed a custom device for the safe removal and installation of traffic signal heads on existing, in-place traffic signal poles.

Confer’s device was fabricated to ratchet to a signal pole mast arm and uses Capital Electric Line Builders’ existing cordless tool batteries to power a winch that safely raises and lowers the signal head into place, allowing a person in a bucket truck to quickly install or remove the signal head from the signal pole mast arm.

Prior to Confer creating the custom winch, the job required the installer in the bucket truck to try to hold the signal head in place, outside of the bucket, while simultaneously trying to attach the connecting hardware to the signal pole. The previous practice was burdensome and created safety challenges as the installer needed to try to carry and hold a signal head with one hand while trying to make pole connections with the other hand.

Confer’s device has, first and foremost, improved safety by reducing the risk of injury to employees performing signal installations. It also has improved efficiency by reducing installation times and reduced the risk of damage to signal equipment by creating a more secure installation method.


Utility group recognizes Jorgenson and Nottestad

Shane Jorgenson, lead operator technician, and Tim Nottestad, supervisor, Combustion Turbine, were honored with the utility group’s Einstein Award.

The individual who nominated Shane and Tim touted their creative effort to install a safer way to climb the Heskett IV stack. By utilizing an existing staircase from the retired coal facility at Heskett, they were able to combine function with safety at a low cost to the company. Repurposing the staircase saved money on materials, fabrication and installation while making it safer for employees.


WBI Energy recognizes Lynn

Tim Lynn, a mechanic in Glendive, Montana, received WBI Energy’s Einstein Award. Lynn was recognized for his continued ingenuity in coming up with countless improvements during two recent compressor station projects. One of his best creations, a manually actuated gas detection head, was not only compliant, but was also safer and cheaper than alternatives. It eliminated the need to rent equipment or work from heights to change out a piece of equipment.


MDU Resources recognizes Dorwart

MDU Resources awarded its Einstein Award to Becky Dorwart, director of executive programs and projects.

During the process of spinning-off Knife River, Dorwart was involved in many facets of the employee benefits program. One of the most complex items was breaking apart the Benefit Protection Trust, which is made up of insurance policies that fund executive programs.

She realized the trust was overfunded in comparison to the needs of the program. Ultimately, she proposed that management extract $20 million in cash basis from the trust and return to company assets, while still leaving the fund in compliance with plan requirements.

Pulling cash from our investments reduced the ongoing balance, which is sensitive to market fluctuations that affect the earnings of the business units that participate in the plan. Also, the timing was important because it reduced the corporation’s need to borrow funds and any interest that would have been charged.


Recommended Posts